If Burger King cooks Halloumi burger in same fryer as chicken nuggets, is it still vegetarian?

Photo: Burger King

Last year, Burger King debuted its Halloumi King burger in Sweden, a meatless Whopper alternative built around two crispy, fried slabs of the titular squeaky cheese. It was a hit there, and it looks to likewise become a hit in the U.K., where it debuted just last week. Especially now, when everybody and their brother is pursuing a meat-free fast-food option, it’s a safe bet. Who doesn’t love a cheese sandwich?

As it turns out, a handful of U.K. diners. Or at the very least, they feel as though they’re not having it their way as promised, as the methods of preparation for the Halloumi Burger have led to growing controversy. Metro reports that some vegetarian diners have complained about the Halloumi Burger after realizing that while there’s no meat in or on the burger itself, it’s still prepared in the same deep fryers as the restaurant’s chicken and fish offerings. While the restaurant promotes it as a meat-free option, rather than a vegetarian one, customers have been left miffed by the fine-print nature of the distinction:

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In speaking with Metro, a BK representative acknowledges that the means of separately cooking the Halloumi Burger from other dishes are currently beyond most locations: “At this moment in time we’re not operationally able to facilitate separate fryers and oil filtration systems in all of our restaurants. However this is a focus for us and our team are actively looking into solutions for how we can change this in the future.”

As fast-food restaurants (and the industry at large, for that matter) continue to wrangle with the demands of ethically-minded consumers, this is the type of question that will have to be addressed in the long run. Fast food is changing, and sooner rather than later, even some of the world’s biggest chains will have to find ways to adapt, while still maintaining what brought them to the dance in the first place. Good luck.

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